Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Top 5 Ways to get Back Into a School Routine

Many counties have less than one week before schools open for the 2016-2017 academic year! Are you ready to get into a school routine? Here are our Top 5 suggestions for getting back on track:

1. Plan ahead

Work out what’s scheduled for your child and make a family plan. Consider creating a calendar or weekly schedule that helps to remind everyone about what’s going on that week and what your child needs to take to school each day, e.g. library books that are coming due and school sport days.

2. A good day starts with a good night’s sleep

It’s not uncommon for parents to allow their children to stay up later during the summer holidays. To ensure that your child gets up in time for school, it is important to re-adjust your child’s sleeping patterns prior to the school term starting. Start by adjusting your child’s sleep pattern in small half hour blocks. For example, if your child is going to bed an hour later than they need too, then 10 days out from school start adjusting their bed time back by half an hour every couple of days, so that they’re back into the school sleep routine prior to school starting.

3. Morning routines are vital

Establishing consistent and persistent morning routines not only provides the opportunity for your child to develop self-care and independent living skills (e.g., dressing themselves) but also makes the morning run smoother. Consistent morning routines create predictable expectations for your child, which provides the opportunity for them to develop their independence skills and in turn their confidence.

4. After School routines are also important

Additionally, it is important to create an after school routine that suits your family’s needs and situation. As always, consistency is key to any effective routine. So find out what suits you and your family and stick with it. For example, is it better for your family that you have a family meal together after homework is completed? Does your child need some “down time” before bath/shower?

5. Visuals are everyone’s best friend

Creating visual routines can help to reduce stress and assist in creating smooth morning and afternoon schedules allowing people to remain calmer and households to run smoothly. Using a visual routine will allow you to refer your child back to the visual schedule to check for themselves what comes next in the morning or afternoon schedule and carry out that activity. Again this is a great skill to build their independence and self-confidence. You can find great images online, then just print and paste them into a picture schedule.

Thank you to Emma Ballantyne, Senior Behaviour Therapist and Early Intervention Consultant, for contributing this week's Top 5!

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